Good Chinese food is, let’s face it, as American as anything.
…Wait, maybe the came out the wrong way. There is nothing quite as American as Chinese food. …Well, that was essentially the same thing, so maybe that didn’t come out the way I wanted, either. A good Chinese meal is as American as pizza.
…Forget it, you know what I’m getting at by this point. Jade Garden opened their doors last July in Basalt (right across the way from the Texaco) and Basalt is definitely the better for it. Featuring a tastefully decorated (not to be overlooked) interior, an extensive menu and seven days a week of operation, Jade Garden is a mighty fine choice if your palate is screaming for some good Chinese food. Or even if it is just whispering a little.
Some of the lunch specials, which come with soup, egg roll and fried rice, include sweet and sour chicken ($6.25), Mongolian beef (beef with green scallions in chef’s special sauce, $6.25), twice cooked pork (B-B-Q pork stir fried with green pepper, carrot and cabbage in a hot sauce… in a VERY hot sauce. $6.25), Kung Pao shrimp (shrimp sauteed with peanuts, diced vegetables and water chestnuts, also very hot, $6.95), and moo goo gai pan (sliced chicken with mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, snow peas and water chestnuts in crystal sauce, $6.25). And that is not all, of course, as there are about 30 total lunch items of the chicken, pork, beef, vegetable and seafood variety. As you can see, at an average of $6.25 for all of that food, lunch is a fine bargain. It is served from 11 until 3 (no lunch on Sunday) and, of course, is either dine in or take out.
Dinner offers no less than 100 items for your menu browsing (and eventual eating) pleasure, including two family dinner combinations for $12 or $17 per person. Of course, these are for those who are frightened of a menu as large as certain book reports that we had to do in school. We were not afraid.
few of the house specialties include crispy duck ($9.95), volcano shrimp ($13.95), seafood combo (lobster, scallops, crabmeat and shrimp sauteed with broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms and carrots in a special sauce, $18), kung pao deluxe (combination of shrimp, beef and chicken sauteed with hot pepper and peanuts in a spicy sauce, $12.95) and the Szechwan family delight (shrimp, scallop and chicken in a hot garlic sauce, $12.95). Appetizers are your standard egg roll (2 for $3), fried shrimp (4 for $5.95), paper wrapped chicken (4 for $4), pot stickers (6 huge ones for $5.95) and the good old pu pu platter, which is $7 per person and has egg rolls, paper wrapped chicken, B-B-Q spare ribs, beef stick, fried shrimp and fried cheese wantons on the famous flaming pu pu tray.
The hot and sour soup was especially hot and sour, and only $2 for a small cup. Also you may want to try the egg drop corn soup or the shrimp sizzling rice soup, but maybe not all at the same time, as you are about to no doubt be faced with a table full of food. Don’t worry, though, you’ll be back.
So, you got your seafood, Szechwan shrimp, scallop with mixed vegetables, Peking shrimp, sweet and sour shrimp, shrimp with lobster sauce, kung pao shrimp, sesame shrimp, shrimp with bean curd, and a few more that I will not mention for fear of plagiarizing that scene in Forrest Gump. All of the seafood a la cart entrees are in the $11 range, and contain plenty of shrimp.
All right then…pork. Sweet and sour, twice cooked, green pepper, King Jang, Hunan…these are a few of my favorite porks. Porcine entrees are all $8.95. How simple is that? Beef: Sesame beef, curry beef, Mandarin beef, orange flavor beef, tomato beef. You know…beef. The beef dishes are around $10.
There aren’t any really exciting vegetable dish names worth rattling off, but I’m sure that that is no reflection on their taste. You have to consider my position, though, as I am torn between, say, writing “bean curd with mushrooms and vegetables” and almond chicken, cashew chicken, pineapple chicken, and General Tao’s chicken. See what a challenge I have to face each and every day? Oh, and chicken dishes are around $9, whereas all veggie dishes are $7.75. Cool.
And there is still a whole page of fine printed menu left to go! There’s moo shu, egg foo young, chow mein, lo mein, pan fried noodles and, of course, fried rice, all rounding out the menu to the point where if you don’t see what you want, you have bigger problems than the kind that can be solved by a bowl of hot and sour soup.
So, what have we learned here today? Ideally, you have retained the truly important point that I was trying to get across in the midst of writing shrimp over and over again…that Jade Garden is the place in Basalt for good old American Chinese food, just like mom used to call up and order. Keep them in mind the next time you are looking for a reasonably priced and hearty lunch or dinner.
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Produced by Colorado State University’s J-school, the documentary examines the economic potential of the plant.